Boykins woman pleads guilty to animal cruelty

Published 11:23 am Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A Boykins woman who pleaded guilty to animal cruelty has been forbidden by Judge Parker Councill to ever own a pet again.

Tonya Y. Brown was in Southampton General District Court on Tuesday afternoon to answer to multiple charges, which were first made on Aug. 24 and continued into autumn, following investigation by the Boykins Police Office.

Brown had two female pit bulls, Princess and Gigi, who had been reported as being visibly neglected. PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch told the newspaper last summer that her agency had become aware of the situation through a phone call by some concerned citizens. PETA had encountered Brown as far back as December 2013.

PETA had photographed and documented where they were kept in a chain-link pen, which according to Nachminovitch, was so filthy with waste that the dogs felt compelled to defecate on top of their own doghouse.

“We consistently have tried to educate and get these conditions to improve, leading by example,” she said, adding that PETA field agents had repeatedly talked to Brown, her mother and son about the dogs’ living conditions. Offers had been repeatedly made to take the animals out of Brown’s care.

“She [Brown] was incapable and unwilling to provide the very basic necessities, and one of the dogs perished as a result,” Nachminovitch said after the trial.

During a custody hearing in November, the judge granted PETA custody of the surviving animal, Princess.

Brown is also required to serve 30 days in jail over consecutive weekends starting Feb. 2. Sentencing on three other charges were 90 days each, but those were suspended. PETA has offered to demolish the pen.

Nachminovitch said there was some good news out of the situation: the surviving dog had been adopted into a good home on Sunday.

“We are grateful to the Boykins Police and Southampton Sheriff’s Office for their assistance in ensuring the welfare and safety of the surviving dog.” she said. “We are hopeful this sends a message to the community that cruelty will not be tolerated. She [Brown] can never any harm animals again.”

PETA urges anyone who witnesses neglect to report it to local authorities. If possible, witnesses should take pictures and keep track of how long an animal is without adequate food, water, or shelter. For more information, visit